In case you haven’t scanned the headlines yet, here is the story: In a personal essay for the September Vogue cover story, Serena Williams announced her retirement from tennis. The superstar athlete announced her decision to move away from the sport in order to focus on new ventures and on her family. Her editorial column was accompanied by a dreamy beach photo shoot, lensed by Luis Alberto Rodriguez. The photographer shot Williams in a series of awe-inspiring looks, including the timeless blue gown that she wore on the cover.
The formfitting, baby-blue dress was from Balenciaga and was styled with dangling blue fringe earring from Bvlgari High Jewelry. (Stylist and global Vogue contributing editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson helped to craft the stunning look on Williams.) In one photo, the train on the Balenciaga gown appeared to be so long that Williams’ four-year-old daughter, Alexis “Olympia” Ohanian Jr., was able to playfully pick it up and cover herself with it. (Olympia’s own outfit was a little white dress.) Both Williams and her mini-me appeared to wear no shoes and stood completely barefoot in the sand. The tennis star’s elegant September cover imparted a serene, almost calm vibe onto readers despite the major announcement it came with.
Williams was careful to express what she meant by “retiring” and wrote in the essay: “I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution.”
The tennis champ shared that she plans to build her family versus her tennis résumé (she and her husband are hoping for a second child) and focus on her venture capital company, Serena Ventures, in an effort to help level the playing field for female-founded startups. Even with all these new goals on the horizon, though, Williams recounted that the decision to step away from professional tennis was far from easy. “I know that a lot of people are excited about and look forward to retiring, and I really wish I felt that way,” she wrote. “There is no happiness in this topic for me. I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine.”
For those who are eager to watch what might be one of Williams’ last professional matches, tune into the 2022 U.S. Open Championship, which takes place from August 29 to September 11. Williams shared that she wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon earlier this year and doesn’t know if she’ll be ready for New York, but she’s going to try her best. As you await the game, shop similar blue dresses to Williams’ cover story look ahead. They will help you channel that timeless, graceful vibe at your next special event.
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